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Kurt Akeley

Computer Graphics Pioneer

Kurt Akeley retired as a distinguished engineer at Google, where he worked in the areas of virtual and augmented reality. A pioneer in the field of computer graphics and a co-founder of Silicon Graphics (later known as SGI), Kurt led the development of innovative products such as RealityEngine and the industry-standard OpenGL graphics system. After leaving SGI in 2001, Kurt completed his long-deferred PhD work at Stanford, working in the areas of stereo 3-D display and human perception. He then joined Microsoft Research, where he was assistant managing director of Microsoft's research lab in Beijing, and, after returning to the US in 2007, developed a prototype light-field display with resolution sufficient to stimulate focus cues in human viewers. Prior to joining Google, Kurt was CTO at Lytro, where he guided system and software development for their computational photography and virtual reality platforms.

Kurt earned a BEE degree from the University of Delaware in 1980, an MSEE degree from Stanford in 1982, and a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford in 2004. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the ACM, and in 1995 was awarded ACM's SIGGRAPH computer graphics achievement award. He is a named inventor on over forty patents.